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Don't get used to seeing new Hyrule Warriors games

Leading up to its release on Nov. 20, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has been, despite some flaws, well-received overall by critics. However, Eiji Aonuma, a long-time producer for the Legend of Zelda series, explained in an interview with IGN that critical success will not necessarily translate into a sequel.

This is due to an "idea-first" approach to Zelda spinoffs. While a future Hyrule Warriors title, or even a new Cadence of Hyrule, isn't out of the question, Aonuma stated that justification for such a sequel must necessarily precede its conception, not vice versa. In other words, a sequel will never be produced simply to continue a spinoff franchise, but rather only if a story idea demands it.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity revolves around a key piece of lore familiar to those who have spent some time playing its forbearer, Breath of the Wild. An event 100 years in the past, called the Great Calamity, is not only often referenced but central to understanding Breath of the Wild's story. Aonuma explained that the decision to let players play through rather than continue to simply witness the Great Calamity in flashbacks came from Breath of the Wild director Hidemaro Fujibayashi.

An initial proposal written by Fujibayashi postulated that a Musou game — which refers to Hyrule Warriors' core setup, pitting individuals against large armies — would be the ideal medium through which to play out the Great Calamity. Only once the idea was formalized by the Zelda team was it then brought to Koei Tecmo (which publishes both the Dynasty Warriors series and Hyrule Warriors) producer Yosuke Hayashi for approval. Thanks to the unique genre, Zelda fans now get to experience some series firsts.

The initial Hyrule Warriors was first released for the Wii U in 2014, meaning that a six year gap stands between the original and newest entries in the Hyrule Warriors series, backing up Aonuma's statement that a sequel could only be greenlit given the right pretext. A third Hyrule Warriors, then, could take just as long if not longer to see the light of day.

While, theoretically, the necessary right idea for a third Hyrule Warriors could come to the development team sooner than in six years from now, Aonuma's insistence that a sequel is dependent entirely on such an idea suggests that the team has yet to come up with one. The upcoming Breath of the Wild sequel, which is expected to match the open world concept of the original, is also a significant hindrance to more Hyrule Warriors. For all intents and purposes then, Age of Calamity can be considered to be the capstone to the spinoff series for the time being.